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PowerColor Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 PCS+When the ATI Radeon HD 5800 series was first introduced a few months back, all of AMD's add in board partners offered essentially the same products, at least at the hardware level. The various boards available during the 'first wave' of Radeon HD 5800 series availability shipped with different accessory bundles and usually had custom decals affixed to their fans and fan shrouds to help differentiate them from one another. But plug them into a slot, install the drivers and they all performed at exactly the same level. That's what happens when ever card is clocked the same and have the same sized frame buffers, etc.

Recently, however, the 'second wave' of Radeon HD 5800 series cards begun shipping. This second wave of product didn't strictly adhere to AMD's reference designs and featured factory overclocks, custom cooling, and even custom circuit boards. The first cards from the second wave of Radeon HD 5800 series cards to land in the HotHardware labs comes by way of PowerColor. The PowerColor Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 PCS+ cards look very similar to each other, but they're nothing like the original Radeon HD 5800s, save for their output configurations. These babies have custom coolers, are factory overclocked and sport redesigned PCBs. Take a look...

PowerColor Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 PCS+ Review

The PowerColor Radeon HD 5800 Series PCS+

  •  3vi1
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The price and performance looks good, but that heat-shroud looks like a cheap/ugly plastic toy compared to what we've been seeing, eh?


I agree about the cheap/ugly and also it looks as though the way the pipes stick out, it might be a problem in some cases. Nice to see you threw the GTX 480 in the mix... sure is a BEAST albeit power hungry, hot, noisy and expensive. lol

If I had to chose between this OC'ed 5870 and the GTX 480, I'd take the 5870 personally.

  •  3vi1
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recoveringknowitall wrote:

I agree about the cheap/ugly and also it looks as though the way the pipes stick out, it might be a problem in some cases.

Just cut a hole in the window of your case so that they have room to stick out and call them a feature:  "Now with Thermal Interaction Points for pets and toddlers!".


3vi1 wrote:

Just cut a hole in the window of your case so that they have room to stick out and call them a feature:  "Now with Thermal Interacation Points for pets and toddlers!".

Why... whatever do you mean? rofl

Marco C

The shroud may look "cheap" but the PCS+ cooler is excellent.

  •  3vi1
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Good to know, but I still think it needs a sticker with a picture of a lady holding a sword. Cards perform better when they have stickers of ladies holding swords.

Marco C

Well, everyone knows that's true.


Morning Marco.

Nice card there, but what is up with its really weak factory OC?  There are cards out there with a much higher factory OC on them (such as the top model Gigabyte UD).

Are you guys going to OC it to see just how far you can push it?


Actually I think it needs a picture of a woman in a bathing suit holding 2 swords. Those also seem to perform way better than the picture of a woman with a sword, and these are the + models so it would be fitting. I will say one thing seeing as I have a 5850 and a 5870 in cross fire! They can both be overclocked rather easily, are very efficient on energy usage, perform great in stock form anyway, and can be overclocked quite easily as well. That is in bone stock form! The main advantage I see here is these are OC'd with a factory warranty. The only thing I could think of that beats them is an XFX card with a transferable double lifetime warranty that can also be oc'd with ease.

  •  3vi1
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>> and these are the + models so it would be fitting.

No thank you; No video cards with plus sized models in bathing suits. You gotsta draw the line on performance somewhere, and that's where I draws it.

Then again, this gives me a business idea where I could make a fortune selling curtains for case windows.

Marco C

@Infinity - I presume, to help keep heat and noise down, PowerColor didn't jack up voltage very much on the GPU to acheive their OC. In it's stock form, it overclocks much like other 5870s, perhaps slightly better due to the better cooler. We're working on a round-up of the higher-overclocked cards now as well, which will contain the other cards you mention.

With that said, I'd personally sacrifice a few MHz for lower temps and quieter operation. But that's just me. :)


Again we see very little gain from an over clocked GPU. This is strange to me because we see tremendous linear gains on the CPU side of things. Makes me call into question if it is even worth it to produce the extra heat that comes along with it. On a positive note this cooler should be good if you want to push it. I do like the design as well with the use of the copper heat pipes protruding from the side looks nasty!!!! 

I was really impressed with the temps now that stood out big time, also this card is priced very well. Overall I give it [Y]


Good Review Marco


Love to see all the redesigned cards come out. They run cooler and the price for the most part isn't that far off from the reference/stock video card.

Can't wait to see this video card round-up. Hope you OC each card because I want to see which after-market heatsink/fan combo is the best at cooling and if different PCB designs make any difference. Seeing max OC for each card is nice too.


Doe it really matter how the card looks? It should be just te specs it will push out. You can remove that "ugly plastic" and people would still buy it because looks is not everything. The price is nice and the specs are cool so its a overall good card .